Movie review: ‘Machete Kills’ is brainless, bloody, good comic-book fun

AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMANOctober 11, 2013 

Film Review Machete Kills

Danny Trejo goes over the top and then some in Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete Kills.”

  • MACHETE KILLS

    ••1/2

    Rated: R For strong bloody violence throughout, language and some sexual content. Starring: Danny Trejo, Demian Bichir, Mel Gibson. Director: Robert Rodriguez. Running time: 107 minutes. Theaters: Edwards 22 and Edwards 9 in Boise, Edwards 14 and Edwards 12 in Nampa, Majestic 18 in Meridian.

“Machete kills,” U.S. President Rathcock says during, um, “Machete Kills.” “That’s what he does.” So, no false advertising here, folks.

Say what you will about junky genre pictures with leaps in logic, ultra-violence and one impossible thing after another — such movies harness cinema’s more overwhelming qualities better than most well-meaning indie flicks about things like “real people” and “relationships.” But don’t go to Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete Kills” expecting deep thoughts on anything. At all.

“Machete Kills” stars the always-entertaining Danny Trejo as the titular ex-Federale and “enemy of the cartels.” The second movie in the series (which sprang from a fake trailer that Rodriguez cut for his movie “Grindhouse”) follows the man with the giant knife on a mission on behalf of the American government.

After a rough ambush, Machete is saved from lynching down South by a timely phone call from Rathcock (Carlos Estevez, otherwise known as Charlie Sheen), who needs the man who “IS Mexico,” as the president puts it, to stop a Mexican madman with a bomb.

Said madman is named Mendez, played by Mexican actor Demian Bichir. All squints and rat-like faces, Bichir nearly scampers away with “Machete Kills.” Revolutionary sometimes, violent lunatic other times, spy now and then, Bichir’s Mendez is the over-the-toppiest thing in a movie that can barely see the top from its altitude.

The other standout is Chilean martial artist Marko Zaror as the bad guy’s enforcer named … wait for it … Zaror. Dude is over 6 feet tall but moves incredibly fast, like a much smaller man, and his combat scenes are genuinely thrilling to watch.

Things explode, heads are removed, and mayhem ensues. Also, a guy in a business suit and a Mexican wrestling mask shoots a laser gun, so you can check that off your cinematic bucket list.

Also, look for Amber Heard as Miss San Antonio, Machete’s government handler (as it were); Sofia Vergara as a deadly brothel madam (is there any other kind?); and cameos by Cuba Gooding Jr., Walt Goggins and Lady Gaga.

Oh, and Mel Gibson plays Voz, the big bad guy.

It’s a lot of fun.

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